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Dec 28, 2011 11:02 PM

Thornwood - Khan's Indian Kitchen - below disappointing

I haven't published nearly enough in the way of food reviews given how much help I've received from my Chow-freres and -soeurs so it be time. Wow! am I UNDERWHELMED! Really underwhelmed.

First the small stuff: let me reiterate what others have said: it is a sh*tty looking storefront. Really crappy looking. The packaged selection looks iffy and the freezer
is iced and scary and the table area looks unappealing. And the signage will NOT help you be sure it's Khan's. Look for the grocery awning which on its right states that they carry halal.
Just getting out of the car you get a strong smell of onion.


Wanted to give it a fair try and so I purchased:

(1) Starter was one chicken samosa (which will be in the case to your left). Verdict: liked it. Nice oily wrapper filled with chicken bits and HEAVY onion flavor. Grilled-ish onions. It may be CALLED chicken but it's all about the onion, believe me. This was the LAST good thing I had.
(2) Two orders of biryani - that day's was chicken. Verdict: doesn't seem to be basmati rice. It looks like the good orange, yellow white mix, but the grains are too large. Spicy, but NOT flavorful. The only actual GOOD bit was the chicken in it: nice and juicy, a bit spicy but again not really flavorful.
(3) A plastic container of potato saag. Verdict: somehow managed to be spicy and bland at the same time ... with an onion undertone. The chunks of potatoes were too big although soft, so flavor could be spread along each bite.
(4) A plastic container of butter chicken aka chicken tikka masala. Verdict: No. Looks good and a good consistency but bland and no flavor.
(5) a large white Styrofoam container of white rice with a few shreds of carrot and peas and a few onions. Verdict: dull Uncle Ben's white rice. This neither looks nor tastes basmati. No flavor at all.
(6) An order of butter naan. Verdict: butter? where? Bland, gluey and RAW. NOT good at all and I had to wait for them to "make it" NO idea what they did. To eat this I'm gonna have to give it a grilling.
(7) an order of paratha. Verdict: not bad. Standard paratha, again underdone and a little gluey.

Total cost: just under $38.00.

Verdict: Still on the lookout for good "hole in the wall Indian" of the type you can find in New York City and elsewhere.

Oh well. Best I can say is that for someone who loves the search - and for whom giving up bookstores as a way to plan a vacation now that I live by Kindle, iPod touch and rooted Nook Color for reading left a hole - knowing that this elusive jewel remains unmined gives me something for which to live!

Khan's Indian Kitchen
546 Commerce St, Thornwood, NY 10594

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  1. I used to be a huge fan of Khan's but I haven't been in quite some time after being disappointed the last few times I went (though my disappointing experiences weren't nearly as dismal as what you report). I'd rather pay a bit more and get exactly what I want, rather than whatever they happen to have that day, which really can be hit or miss, and sit in a nice atmosphere.

    6 Replies
    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

      I appreciate the comprehensive review but you're a little too hard. They're just a modest grocery store and food counter in back where some days are better than others. Try Calcutta Wrap and Roll not too far down the Saw Mill in Ardsley for more impressive Indian takeout.

      1. re: Sexual_Chocolate

        Hmm. Maybe re too hard, but I don't think so. Freely admit had it only once on one day but tried a spread of dishes. Given the OVERwhelming bland and onion didn't feel that it was a "bad day" kind of thing but a bad kind of thing. You can get one dish wrong in a particular day but when not one thing is worth repeating I think it says something. Hey: like all else on these boards one chica's opinion. You agree say so; disagree, post and say me nay. If I can I'll stop by again to try at least biryani. Posted review as the possibility of good HITW Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi was such a light in a dark place I was consequently more bummed when instead I found that RARE thing: an Indian restaurant to which I never want to return.

        1. re: Allisondbl

          Sorry to hear about your Khan's experience too. Lately, the only thing I've been getting there that has always been consistent is their chana masala (VERY spicy chickpeas). That and a few samosas and I've been happy. (But I do skip the rice - definitely not Basmati -you're right - good call!)

          Calcutta Wrap & Roll in Ardsley is a very good choice. A little bit closer is LIttle Kabab Station in Mt. Kisco, which has become my go-to place. Never have I been disappointed with anything there. I get a serious craving for their seehk kabab (ground lamb) frankie roll and their curries. They also do really creative (albeit non-traditional, but good!) things with their nan. (adding pesto, fruits & nuts, etc.) Definitely worth it.

          1. re: Sra. Swanky

            Surprisingly I have not had Calcutta Wrap and Roll as it's just a tiny bit out of the way but not that much so I'm going to give it a try this week and will report back. I chose not to try the chana but I do agree it LOOKED good. I further agree that Little Kabab Station is a decent choice. Decent, as I, personally, do not like the reddish onions they lard on top which often flavor the food, but that's a small complaint, and because I think it's a bit pricey for what you get. For some reason I became bored with it fairly quickly. Not bad but ... well ... I find the cheaper places that are desi cuisine in the City SO superior and so much a better value that I just don't want the inferior old-style northern dishes I guess! Love these boards for all the input and discussion!

            1. re: Allisondbl

              I agree - the red onion is overpowering. You can't compare any Westchester Indian with what you could get in the city -- a good frame of mind that a lot of former city dwellers say is "it's good - for Westchester!" (Sad but true!) I don't get to have NYC Indian too often, so I can't remember what I'm missing!! ;o) But I do really enjoy some of the offerings at both Kabab & Calcutta. They're definitely unique among all the Indian buffet-style places that are scattered all over the county.

              1. re: Allisondbl

                I think you are better off going and getting dhosa batter from the indian grocer in Elmhurst and DIY.

      2. I was underwhelmed also, but was happy they were there. My meal was just ok. But, along with my meal, I ordered paneer kulcha (naan). That was delicious. Freshly made and not gluey at all!

        Are there any other good indian grocers in the area? I like to buy paneer and various other Indian ingredients I can't find in the regular markets.

        6 Replies
          1. re: Axel Heyst

            Yes! +1 on LSB! Just opened up. They have a wide selection of spices and ingredients -- run by the same people of Little Kabab Station. They have a lassi bar there too. Had a mint & mango lassi there the other day - very refreshing.

            1. re: Sra. Swanky

              Thanks to both of you!! Can't wait to check out both places! I will plan to arrive hungry!

              1. re: queenregina

                Just wanted to report back that I checked out Little Kabob Station (we actually sat in little spice bazaar since they were busy) and thoroughly enjoyed my meal. My friend and I shared chicken tikka masala and saag paneer. Both were delicious. A week later I stopped in for a frankie roll. That was yummy too!

                IMy only disappointment was that LSB didn't sell paneer. I am still looking for a local spot to purchase paneer!

                1. re: queenregina

                  Paneer is very easy to make at home. No need to search for a store.....Let me know if you would like a recipe.

                  1. re: gurud

                    Thanks, when I use paneer it is usually on a whim so I like to keep it on hand in the freezer to add to quick indian meals. And although I love to cook and would like to experiment with making paneer one day, with 2 little kids I usually have limited time to prepare dinner these days (without someone tugging on my leg).